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Year Ender 2019: Advani adds 23rd World title to his kitty as cue sports sees new World Champions from the country

Bengaluru, Dec. 15: Cue Sports has been a growing sport in the country. The popularity is yet to reach its potential, but one man has shouldered the maximum responsibility for the growth of snooker and billiards in India. And with the decade coming to an end, India’s Golden Boy still holds the torch for the sport.

2019 has not been no different. The King of the Green Baize, Pankaj Advani, has had another World Championship winning year, and his compatriots have also added to the medal count and notched up notable performances, which has seen the sport end the decade on a successful note. The year also saw two more Indian cueists become World Champions.

Here, MyKhel takes a look at how the Indian cueists fared in the year-ender 2019.

Success at the national circuit

Success at the national circuit

As we take a look back at the year, and bring the curtains down on the decade, let’s start with a look at the medal haul of the 34-year-old Advani, who has once again enjoyed a record-breaking year.

The Bengaluru-based cueist holds the record of a hattrick of hat-tricks in the billiards as he has won the World, Asian and Indian National Championship titles simultaneously in five different years, starting from 2005. He secured his first one in 2005, followed by 2008, 2012, 2017 and the last one coming this year in 2019. A fine finish to the year for the 34-year-old.

Career Grand Slam for India’s Golden Boy

Career Grand Slam for India’s Golden Boy

Advani ends the year as a 23-time World Champion, a feat which no player is close to achieving. And his hunger is the same as it was when he won his first title, if not more.

In 2019, the Arjuna awardee has picked up the senior snooker title on the national circuit, taking his national titles to 32. Advani also defending the Asian Billiards title, securing the title for a total number of eight times.

Apart from this another highlight for Advani was the Asian Snooker title. Having already laid his hands on the billiards title, this had been missing from Advani’s trophy cabinet. But this year Advani finally overcame the final hurdle and added this to his kitty to secure a Career Grand Slam in cue sports. He is the only player to do so in both snooker and billiards.

Mehta’s maiden World title

Mehta’s maiden World title

In September, the Bengaluru-based cueist ensured that his name is etched on every IBSF world title on offer, when he clinched the IBSF World Snooker Team event, along with compatriot Aditya Mehta.

While this was Advani’s 23rd World title, for Aditya Mehta it was a golden moment as he notched up his maiden world title. Mehta and Advani have been rivals on several occasions but this was the first time the duo won a world title together and hopefully it’s the beginning of many more.

Prior to the team event title, Advani had won the world billiards event the previous week. In the world 6-red snooker event, the Padma Shri awardee clinched bronze. The highlight of Advani’s titles was him securing the team event title, which was the only world title to have eluded him so far. Advani had also laid his hands on the 15-Red snooker tournament in Doha to add to his medal haul.

Rawat’s golden moment

Rawat’s golden moment

Though Advani lost out on the gold medal in the 6-Red Snooker event, India still celebrated a world title winner as Laxman Rawat picked up the 6-Red world title defeating Muhammad Asif. For Rawat it was a truly golden moment and the Delhi-born player picked up his maiden single World title, having won the 15-red ream snooker championship back in 2017.

The Mumbai-based snooker player held his nerve in a tense final frame to overcome Pakistan’s Muhammad Asif to pick up the trophy in Myanmar. The 27 year-old has also won two silvers in team events this year in the Asian Championship and the World Championship.

Enroute to Rawat’s gold, he had defeated Advani in the semifinals. It boosted Rawat’s confidence as he became only the second Indian cueist to win the 6 Red World Championship. The other Indian was Advani.

This year has seen the country not only increase the medal count, but has also seen new world champions emerging from the shadows of Advani. It was a fruitful year for the cueists from the country, who hope to increase the presence of the sport in the country through more World titles. Over the last decade India has emerged as a powerhouse for the sport and more support will see more youngsters take up the sport and bring more laurels to the country.

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Story first published: Sunday, December 15, 2019, 22:58 [IST]
Other articles published on Dec 15, 2019
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